Hard to believe we're already here, but fantasy championships are upon us. It's now or never, make or break, and every other possible cliche in the book to describe championships. Money and pride are on the line for many, so these picks are the most important of all.
Who to Start:
QB Philip Rivers (SD) vs. OAK: The Raiders defense has been downright abysmal recently, and Philip Rivers should have no trouble picking apart this ghastly secondary time and time again in a very important game for the Chargers.
RB DeMarco Murray (DAL) vs. WSH: Even with the "he might not get carries when the Cowboys are up 26" proviso, he is going against the Redskins on Sunday, and Bill Callahan's play-calling has to change after that debacle on Sunday, right?
WR Antonio Brown (PIT) vs. GB: The Packers defense has been pretty bad for most of the season, and Antonio Brown has been a consistently large fantasy player for many weeks now. Don't deviate from that strategy if you have him.
WR Pierre Garcon (WSH) vs. DAL: Speaking of another terrible secondary (seemingly a theme right now), the Cowboys secondary has been unbelievably bad, as has the rest of the Cowboys defense. Garcon saw a good helping of targets in Atlanta, so he should see another good game for Washington.
TE Dennis Pitta (BAL) vs. NE: The Patriots have had some trouble defending Tight Ends recently, so Pitta could be a major target for Joe Flacco on Sunday in another massive game for the Ravens.
DEF Denver vs. Houston: Even though this unit isn't very amazing on paper or on form, the Texans are starting Matt Schaub, which must mean that a pick-6 can't be too far off. And Ben Tate was just put on IR, so that will help.
Who to Sit:
QB Carson Palmer (ARZ) vs. SEA: His numbers have been taking a hit each of the last few weeks, and they'll probably take another hit once the Cardinals take the field in the snake pit that is CenturyLink Field.
RB Andre Brown (NYG) vs. DET: He might be hard to bench at this point, but consider this: Despite the negative narratives surrounding the Lions defense, they have defended the run well at home of late.
WR Roddy White (ATL) vs. SF MON: As the house is brought down on Candlestick Park, the 49ers will obviously be energized to have a big performance. Their pass defense at home is almost suffocating, so Roddy White will likely struggle, even though he's getting healthy.
WR Greg Jennings (MIN) vs. CIN: Even though he had a huge game last Sunday against the Eagles, that was against the Eagles at home. Against the Bengals on the road, he doesn't project to fare nearly as well, since the Bengals might be the best home team in the AFC on both sides of the ball.
TE Coby Fleener (IND) vs. KC: The Chiefs are usually a reliable team when it comes to defending Tight Ends, and they usually are even better at it at home. Fleener's production has seen a steady decline, so it might be wise to bench him on Sunday.
DEF New Orleans vs. CAR: Get the SNF performance by the Saints defense out of your head and think about this: The Saints are a pretty dreadful road team, and the Panthers offense is capable of breaking out in Charlotte. The Saints defense is a risky play.
3 Super Sleepers:
QB Kirk Cousins (WSH) vs. DAL: With a historically bad Cowboys secondary as his opposite number, Cousins could have another huge game, especially if he is able to cut down on the turnovers like the rest of the team.
WR Kendall Wright (TEN) vs. JAX: The Jaguars secondary had been playing better of late, but the defense as a whole is banged up right now, so Wright could be a very decent 3rd option in regular leagues, and probably even better in PPR ones.
TE Zach Miller (SEA) vs. ARZ: The Cardinals statistically are the worst team at defending the TE in the NFL, and Miller already had one big game against them in Week 7. He could be in for another big game on Sunday.
QB Tom Brady (NE) vs. BAL: Obviously hard to bench, but keep in mind he has not played well in his career against the Ravens and looked pretty mortal again last Sunday in Miami without a lot of his important weapons. Bench him only if you have a superior option available.
Good Luck in Week 16 and have a Merry Christmas!